PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP

By Rosemary Ani

Volunteer


Parenting is the most fulfilling job that we will ever have, but it’s not without its challenges. Modern family life can be stressful and with various pressures on families it’s not always easy. Ultimately, parents want what is best for their child and a strong parent-child relationship can help lead to better outcomes for children.

Why is a Positive Parent-Child Relationship Important?

The Parent-Child Relationship is one that nurtures the physical, emotional and social development of the child. It is a unique bond that every child and parent will enjoy and nurture. This relationship lays the foundation for the child’s personality, life choices and overall behavior. It can also affect the strength of their social, physical, mental and emotional health.

What is the most important characteristic of a parent-child relationship?

The most important characteristics of a parent-child relationship are the love and trust that the parents have for their children. This is what helps them develop into responsible adults who will grow up to be good citizens.
Some of the benefits include:

Young children who grow with a secure and healthy attachment to their parents stand a better chance of developing happy and content relationships with others in their life.

A child who has a secure relationship with their parent learns to regulate emotions under stress and in difficult situations.

Promotes the child’s mental, linguistic and emotional development.

Helps the child exhibit optimistic and confident social behaviors.

Healthy parent involvement and intervention in the child’s day-to-day life lay the foundation for better social and academic skills.

A secure attachment leads to a healthy social, emotional, cognitive, and motivational development. Children also gain strong problem-solving skills when they have a positive relationship with their parents.

Parenting is a demanding job. It can be hard for a parent to balance the needs of a child with their own needs. There are four main types of parent-child relationships. Kids who grow up with secure, avoidant, ambivalent, and disorganized parents have different developmental outcomes.

Children in a secure parent-child relationship feel safe and protected by their loving and nurturing parents. The child feels confident that they can depend on their parents for support when needed and does not worry about undue punishment or rejection from them.

TYPES OF PARENT CHILD RELATIONSHIP

Avoidant: Children in an avoidant parent-child relationship tend to have a difficult time trusting their parents because their parents have unjustly or inconsistently hurt or disappointed them in the past. These children may also feel sad, anxious, or insecure because they do not know what to expect from their parents.

Ambivalent: The relationship is characterized by insufficient parental warmth, affection, and support. The parent may be overprotective or neglectful, and does not provide the child with clear boundaries. This type of parent-child relationship can be seen in families with a history of abuse, neglect, or mental illness. This type of family dynamic can also be seen when parents are unable to provide for their children’s basic needs, such as food, shelter, or safety.

Disorganized: The parent is unable to manage their emotions, and may be overly controlling or neglectful in their parenting style. They are also unable to provide clear boundaries for the child and may not enforce rules consistently.

Five Problems That Can Ruin Parent-Child Relationship

The relation that you form with your children during the early years forms the foundation for their later years. If the early parent-child relationship is strained due to various problems, your child’s personality will be affected. Here are a few common parent-child relationship problems that you should avoid:

Physical and mental abuse: Some parents (usually alcoholics and addicts) might physically abuse the child while some might verbally abuse by criticizing them, shouting at them, or putting them down repeatedly, which can damage the child.
Abuse during childhood could turn children into abusive adults who ill-treat their parents and children, creating a vicious cycle.

Disrespect: Respect is mutual and has to be earned. As a parent, you need to provide for the child physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. If any of these needs are not taken care of, then children begin to disrespect the parents. Such children tend to disobey the parents, break the rules, and rely more on others for their needs and desires. Also, you need to give due respect to the child in the way you talk and behave with them.

Poor communication: Poor or nonexistent communication between the parent and child can be frustrating. This usually stems from the parents’ belief that their children don’t listen to them, and children thinking that their parents don’t understand them. This perspective freezes the communication between the two, resulting in anger, bitterness, and sorrow.

Codependency: Some parent-child relationships are codependent; the child is expected to take care of the parents especially when the parent is disabled or terminally ill. So, the child takes on the responsibility of making the parent happy, resolves family problems, or even takes up the daily chores at home. They might also put their parents’ needs before theirs, and grow up to have a codependent personality.

Mistrust: If children repeatedly make mistakes or display unruly behavior, then parents have difficulty trusting them. If parents want to reestablish trust, then they need to give their children the opportunity to prove that they are trustworthy.

HOW TO IMPROVE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP

Start from the beginning: Mothers form a bond with the child right from the womb while the father-child bond begins the moment the baby is born. Studies suggest that fathers who were involved with the child in the early days had greater bonding later in life.

Invest time and effort: The more time and effort you put into your relationship, the stronger your bond will turn out to be. Parents are naturally programmed to love their offspring, but qualitative time and effort are essential to show that love. Teens need privacy, while younger kids need parental intervention and interaction.

Prioritize your relationship with the child: Your kids are your priority. So, show it to them in action. spend as much time as you can with your child instead of just ‘fitting’ them in your schedule.

Be available: Be responsive to your child’s physical and emotional needs. It is important to be attentive, loving and seeing things from the child’s perspective.

Empathize: Help your children express their emotions. Be empathetic and compassionate and let them vent out their emotions. This may not be easy when you are a first-time parent, but a little practice helps. Seeing things from your child’s perspective will help you understand the reasons for their cranky behavior.

Communication: Communication with your child has to be fair, firm, and friendly. Be clear about your expectations, what they can expect from you and any ground rules and consequences for not following them. That said, don’t let the child push your buttons. As a parent, you need to handle it maturely and calmly.

Take active interest in their studies, friends, and activities: Parents who are involved in their child’s life have strong parent-child relationships. Learn what’s happening with them, understand their academics, and know their friends. Stay in regular touch with your child’s teachers or volunteer at school if you have leisure time.


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